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The Talon Tribune

Student Teaching with Students; The ISA Program

Ben Eggen
Silver Creek High School teacher Kristen Brown and senior and current Instructional Student Assistant Olivia Stratton discussing teaching techniques after an I.S.A meeting.

As students shuffle into the classroom, sit down at a desk, and pull out their iPads and notebooks ready to learn, the students expect their normal teacher to walk in and deliver a lesson. Instead, a seventeen-year-old upperclassman walks to the front of the class and begins a lesson. This is not a random student who walked in, this is an Instructional Student Assistant (I.S.A.).

The Instructional Student Assistant Program, also known as I.S.A., gives students at Silver Creek High School the ability to work with a teacher to help run lessons, support students with work, and learn what it is like to be a teacher. The I.S.A. program is a program that is directed by a student in conjunction with Karen Norris, the assistant principal of Silver Creek. This year the program is run under senior Alizee Macias Soto independently from any other organization.

“I chose I.S.A. to learn and grow experience about working with other students and the methods in teaching,” Soto explains.

But this isn’t Soto’s first time with the program as she was a participant before she ran the program.

“I tried I.S.A. as an experience, and this is convincing to the teaching and education methods because working with different students requires making pathways in the students’ learning and teaching them in different ways to help them understand class material and follow-up which is an extra help that is very useful,” Soto states.

This type of student teaching is very unique in the St. Vrain Valley School District as no other school has a program with the same standards. There are programs through the Innovation Center that put students into elementary and middle schools but none of those programs put students in the high school setting.

“We go a step further with putting our students into our GenEd classes for 9th and 10th grade or any kind of intervention class,” Norris said.

The type of classes vary to give participants of the program a full view of teaching in a high school. With the program, there is a variety of experiences that students can go through from leading a whole class in a lesson to working one-on-one with students. As every class is unique, so is the I.S.A. experience and motivation to join.

Jorge Crespo Cruz, a senior in the I.S.A. program explains why he joined the program.

“I want to get more involved within the Hispanic and Latino community. And I figured being an I.S.A. could help me with helping English learners.”

Crespo also wanted to improve in areas that are used in an educational setting.

“I want to improve my public speaking but I also want to get the skills of you know how it can be like a mentor tutor, but I think that will be useful for college.”

These skills are learned in the I.S.A. not only from the students but also from the teachers that they are paired up with. Diana Dame who teaches English 9, 10, Speech and Debate, and Creative Writing, participates in the I.S.A. program as a mentor. Dame reflects on the impact of her I.S.A.

“Kids have a tendency to zone out when adults are always talking, but when an I.S.A says something, students are more likely to listen.”

In this program, teacher mentors are noticing that when their I.S.A. does a lesson or works with a singular student there is a higher chance of the student listening and retaining information.

As well as the impact, uniqueness, and experience that participants acquire during the program, they also gain knowledge for when they leave high school and a better understanding of what they want to do in the future.

“With doing something like an I.S.A program you are finding out whether or not you want to do something in education in the future while saving time and money in high school.” Dame said.

Norris and Dame believe that with programs like I.S.A, in the future there will be more experienced teachers coming out of college and into the workforce.

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About the Contributor
Ben Eggen
Ben Eggen, Staff Writer
Ben Eggen is a senior at Silver Creek High School and this is his first time participating in journalism. He joined journalism to learn about the crucial writing that affects everyone in the modern world. His passions include running, reading, and writing. In his spare time he runs for the Silver Creek Track and Field team. He also works in RLC and Student Senate to plan events for students at Silver Creek. He is also apart of the ISA program at Silver Creek, where he is learning to become a teacher in the future.

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